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Lucy Letby renews bid for permission to appeal murder convictions | UK News

Child killer Lucy Letby has renewed her bid for permission to appeal against her convictions, claiming the trial judge was wrong to refuse four of her applications.

Letby, 34, was sentenced to 14 whole-life orders last August after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six others.

She was convicted of committing the offences at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit, where she worked as a nurse, between June 2015 and June 2016.

Letby, represented by Ben Myers KC, renewed her application for leave to appeal today in front of three judges at the Court of Appeal in London.

Lucy Letby
Lucy Letby

She has put forward four grounds of appeal, in each of which she claims the trial judge wrongly refused an application made on her behalf during the trial.

If the Court of Appeal judges decline to give permission, it will mark the end of the appeal process for Letby.

Letby, from Hereford, was found guilty of seven counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder, two of which were against the same baby, and cleared of two further attempted murder charges after a 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The jury couldn’t reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder, relating to five children.

The identities of the children involved in the allegations can’t be reported due to a court order.

Everest climber George Mallory’s letters published 100 years on from disappearance | UK News

Letters written by one of Britain’s most famous – and ill-fated – mountaineers and explorers have been published online.

The letters from George Mallory, who disappeared on Mount Everest in 1924, to his wife Ruth have been published by his former Cambridge University college, Magdalene.

He was 37 when he and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine vanished close to the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

Seventy-five years later, Mallory’s body was found, but Irvine’s remains lost.

It is still not known whether they made it to the top of the mountain.

The letters have been published to mark 100 years since his disappearance.

Most of the correspondence was between their engagement in 1914 and his death, including the last letter he wrote before his final summit attempt, where he described the odds as “50 to 1 against us”.

“Darling I wish you the best I can – that your anxiety will be at an end before you get this – with the best news. Which will also be the quickest,” he wrote.

“It is 50 to 1 against us but we’ll have a whack yet & do ourselves proud.”

He signed off the letter: “Great love to you. Ever your loving, George.”

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His letters also cover his first reconnaissance mission to Everest in 1921 and his second expedition a year later, when seven sherpas were killed in an avalanche, for which he blamed himself.

He also described his service in the First World War, including being in the Artillery during the Battle of the Somme.

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A letter Ruth Mallory wrote to her husband – the only surviving one from this period – has also been published online, where she writes: “I think I want your companionship even more than I used to.

“I know I have rather often been cross and not nice and I am very sorry but the bottom reason has nearly always been because I was unhappy at getting so little of you.

“I know it is pretty stupid to spoil the time I do have you for those when I don’t.”

Three other letters found with Mallory’s body in 1999 have also been published – one from his brother, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, a letter believed to be from expedition support Stella Cobden-Sanderson, and a letter from his sister Mary Brooke, written from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Read more:
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Everest filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears dies aged 68

Magdalene College archivist Katy Green said: “It has been a real pleasure to work with these letters.

“Whether it’s George’s wife Ruth writing about how she was posting him plum cakes and a grapefruit to the trenches (he said the grapefruit wasn’t ripe enough), or whether it’s his poignant last letter where he says the chances of scaling Everest are ’50 to 1 against us’, they offer a fascinating insight into the life of this famous Magdalene alumnus.”

The letters are free to view on the Magdalene College website.

The first documented summit of Mount Everest was in 1953, by New Zealand climber Sir Edmund Hillary with Tibetan mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.

Parents describe baby’s ‘scary’ measles symptoms as cases soar | UK News

The parents of a five-month-old baby who was left struggling to breathe after contracting measles have described her “scary” ordeal as the number of cases soar.

England is facing a measles emergency with 86 confirmed cases in England over the past week, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

It brings the total number of measles cases recorded so far this year to almost 900 – a sharp increase from 368 cases in all of 2023.

About two-thirds of those affected are under the age of 10.

Health workers say the current outbreak, which started in the West Midlands last year, has now spread to every region of the country.

London has become the latest hotspot and five-month-old Margot House is among those who have recently contracted the highly-contagious disease.

Her mother Georgia House told Sky News: “It’s really scary because I was holding my little baby, she was struggling to breathe and she looked god-awful.

“She had rashes on her tummy, behind her neck and going up her head.”

James House with baby Margot who contracted measles 
case study pic provided by correspondent
Margot’s rash stretched across her stomach, neck and head

Her daughter likely contracted measles earlier in the month when she was admitted to hospital for an allergic reaction, Ms House said.

As Margot is younger than 12 months old, she was not eligible for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and ended up back in hospital, needing help to breathe and eat.

The main symptoms of measles are a high fever, sore and red watery eyes, coughing, sneezing and a rash that usually appears after the initial symptoms.

Georgia House with baby Margot who contracted measles 
case study pic provided by correspondent
Georgia House is urging people to check their own vaccination records

Measles vaccinations in the UK were introduced in 1968 and, until recently, the widespread take-up had all but eradicated the disease until recently.

In recent weeks, hundreds of children have contracted the disease and health officials have warned that “many thousands of children around the country are still not fully vaccinated and may be at risk of serious illness or life-long complications”.

Read more:
What are symptoms of measles?
NHS writes to young adults in MMR jab drive

James House  with baby Margot who contracted measles 
case study pic provided by correspondent
Margot with her father James

Dr Vanessa Saliba, a consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA, said: “Numbers of measles cases are rising across the country, with a particular increase seen in London in recent weeks.

“Parents should check their child’s Red Book now to ensure that children are up to date with the MMR and other routine vaccines. If you’re unsure, contact your GP practice to check.”

GPs will be able to offer any vaccinations needed to bring them up to date, she added.

Margot will make a full recovery but her parents Georgia and James are urging anyone who may be behind on their vaccinations to get their jabs.

“You can stop this becoming an epidemic and a huge outbreak,” Ms House said. “Allow people who do want to get vaccinated, but don’t have the opportunity, to continue to live their lives without fear of getting an infection that could be life threatening.”

Crime scene where human torso was found in Salford reopens weeks after discovery | UK News

A crime scene where a human torso was found in a Salford nature reserve has reopened more than two weeks after the discovery.

A passer-by found human remains, consisting of the bottom of the back, buttocks and thigh, in clear plastic while walking at the Kersal Dale Wetlands in Greater Manchester on 4 April.

Hundreds of specialist officers and scientists were deployed and the force closed the scene on Wednesday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Officers have now reopened scenes at Great Clowes Street and the wetlands after “further reports” during “inquiries in the area”, GMP added.

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From 6 April: Torso found ‘belongs to man’

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes said: “I would like to reassure you that this is precautionary.

“Every piece of intelligence we receive is investigated thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned to give us the best chance of finding out who our victim is and what happened to him.”

The victim is believed to have been a white man in his 40s, who had died a number of days before his remains were found on 4 April. He has not yet been identified.

Police and forensic officers at Kersal Dale, near Salford .
Pic: PA
A forensics tent at the crime scene earlier in April. Pic: PA

DS Hughes said officers were expecting to be at the scene for several hours on Sunday “but there should be no disruption to the wider community”.

A man in his 20s was also arrested on suspicion of murder by GMP on 6 April. He was later released on bail pending further enquiries.

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Police also previously said that children who were playing in the area in the days before the remains were discovered could have crucial information.

Liz Truss refuses to apologise for sparking mortgage rate rise – but admits one failing as PM | Politics News

Liz Truss has acknowledged she and her government lost the confidence of financial markets following the mini-budget of October 2022 – but has refused to apologise to homeowners for higher interest rates.

Talking to Sky News, the former prime minister blamed her downfall on the Bank of England, primarily governor Andrew Bailey. However, she said she did not meet Mr Bailey once during her time in office.

“I actually had a meeting set up – I wanted to meet him,” she said. “But I was advised that would be a bad idea. And perhaps I shouldn’t have taken that advice.

“But that advice came from the cabinet secretary and what I didn’t want to do is further exacerbate the [market] problems.

“In retrospect, yes, I probably should have spoken directly to the governor of the Bank of England at the time.”

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Asked about the aftermath of the mini-budget, at which her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a series of unfunded tax cuts, without presenting evidence of how he would pay for them, Ms Truss said: “It’s fair to say that the government did not have the confidence of the markets…

“But if you have organisations within the state, like the Bank of England, like the Office of Budget Responsibility, who are pretty clear to people they don’t support the policies that are being pursued and are essentially undermining those policies, then it is difficult to command the confidence in the markets – because the markets look to the government for that leadership.”

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A look back: Truss’s time as PM

During Ms Truss’s short time in office, the expected path for the Bank’s interest rate a year ahead rose from below 4% to around 6%.

While those rates were increasing before the fiscal event, they shot up dramatically in the wake of the mini-budget, rising even further when, a few days later, Mr Kwarteng promised even more tax cuts.

That sharp increase in interest rates precipitated a short-lived crisis in UK financial markets, which triggered the near collapse of liability-driven investment (LDI) funds which underlie the pension market.

Asked whether she would apologise for the sharp rise in interest rates during her time in office, Ms Truss said: “I question the premise of what you’re asking me, because mortgage rates have gone up across the world.

“The issues that I faced in office, were issues of not being able to deliver the agenda because of a deep resistance within the establishment.”

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Liz Truss beside Kwasi Kwarteng at the mini-budget announcement in September 2022. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters
Liz Truss beside Kwasi Kwarteng at the mini-budget announcement in September 2022. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters

She continued: “I think it’s wrong to suggest that I’m responsible for British people paying higher mortgages. That is something that has happened in every country in the free world.

“I’m not saying that I got everything absolutely perfect in the way the policy was communicated. But what I am saying is I faced real resistance and actions by the Bank of England that undermine my policy and created the problems in the market.”

Ms Truss was talking to Sky News in Washington DC on the US leg of her publicity tour for her new book, Ten Years To Save the West.

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Since publication it has emerged that one of the quotes she used in the book, attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild, is in fact a fake quote, often used in an antisemitic context.

Ms Truss said: “I’m very sorry about that. It was a complete mistake. It was something I found online and I’ve said I’m very sorry to the British Board of Deputies for that.

“It will be removed from all future editions of the book and removed from the Online Edition.”

Asked whether she feels more at home in the US than in the UK these days, she said: “Well, I do like aspects of American politics. I believe that on economics the US has got it more right than the UK has.

“My heart’s in Britain. But I think you’ve got to be prepared to learn from other countries that have that success.”

You can watch the full interview with the former prime minister on Sky News’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips programme from 8.30am this morning. Trevor is also joined by Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho, shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood and Reform UK leader Richard Tice.

Police investigating after man and woman in 70s found dead in Stoke-on-Trent | UK News

Police are investigating after a man and a woman in their 70s were found dead at a house in Stoke-on-Trent.

Officers were called to a report of two bodies found at a property on Catalina Place, Meir Park, at 1pm on Saturday, Staffordshire Police said.

They were pronounced dead at 2.15pm.

Staffordshire Police said: “An investigation is being carried out to establish the circumstances of the incident.

“At this stage, we are confident there is no wider threat or risk to the community.”

The man and woman have not been publicly named.

Read more from Sky News:
Head of Met Police should resign, says antisemitism campaigner
Three men who died in north London car crash named
Wales to roll back 20mph speed limit on some roads after backlash

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Their family are being supported by specialist officers.

‘Invincible’ all-girl football team goes whole season unbeaten – in boys’ league | UK News

An all-girl team has become football’s latest “invincibles” by going unbeaten all season – while playing in a boys’ league.

Queens Park Ladies under-12s finished top of division three of the Bournemouth Youth Football League, with 18 wins, four draws and no defeats.

They dominated the 11 boys’ teams in the league, scoring 61 goals and conceding only 11.

By the time they had played all their matches, they had amassed 58 points, 16 more than the second-placed team, which had two games still to play.

To make their triumph all the sweeter, they had to overcome initial resistance from county FA bosses, who initially told them they would have to play in a girls’ competition.

Pic: Queens Park Ladies
The under-12s team celebrates winning the league. Pic: Queens Park Ladies

Manager Toby Green was convinced his team was good enough to play against boys every week and the players, who train twice a week, have proved him right on the pitch.

Next season, the girls will be promoted to the under-13s second division.

They topped the league away against Moordown & Southbourne several weeks ago but clinched the “invincibles” title last weekend with a 3-0 win against Lymington Town.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Green said: “The girls have done really, really well. They’ve worked so hard all season, not just in the games, but in their training as well.

“They have been really disciplined… they deserve it.”

Pic: Queens Park Ladies
Pic: Queens Park Ladies

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Mr Green said securing the league title with a 3-0 away win against a team that had won six games in a row was one of the highlights of the season.

“We’ve really had to dig in, particularly away from home,” he said.

Read more from Sky News:
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Four of the girls in the 14-strong squad have been playing together since they were five years old.

Mr Green started the team when his daughter Olivia told him she wanted to play football. He had already coached his older daughter as the only girl in a boys’ team and decided this time he would put together a girls’ team, but wanted them to play in the boys’ league.

The team hopes to inspire more young girls to get involved in football.

Some roads in Wales to revert back to 30mph after half a million call for 20mph speed limit to end | UK News

Some roads in Wales are set to go back to 30mph after nearly half a million people called for an end to the national 20mph speed limit.

Ken Skates, the Welsh government’s new transport minister, said “there will be a change” to legislation introduced in September which changed the speed limit on nearly all roads from 30mph to 20mph.

Introduced under former first minister Mark Drakeford, the Welsh government said the reduced speed limit would save lives and help build “safer communities” by reducing the number of collisions.

A petition calling for the removal of the 20mph limit reached 469,571 signatures by 13 March – hundreds of thousands more than the 10,000 required for a petition to be considered for a debate.

Speaking to North Wales Live, the Labour MP said there is “generally universal support” for the speed limit being in place outside of schools, housing estates and hospitals, but acknowledged that many have said “routes that shouldn’t have been included were”.

Read more:
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“We’ve put our hands up to say, ‘the guidance has to be corrected’,” he added.

“This will enable councils to revert back those routes that are not appropriate. Whether the change will be radical will largely depend on what people want.”

20mph sign at Aberthin, where a stretch of road has eight different speed limits within a two-mile distance. (Pic: Tomos Evans)
Transport minister Ken Skates said ‘we’ve put our hands up to say, ‘the guidance has to be corrected”. Pic: Tomos Evans

He added he will share more details in the Senedd on Tuesday, saying “we are working to do this as swiftly as we possibly can,” and acknowledged adjusting the speed limits will be costly but not “anywhere near the cost of the rollout”.

Mr Skates then said: “It is about making sure the application is consistent and we bring back a good degree of unity, whereas currently there is discord.”

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It comes after a road sign showing a 20mph limit was among seven “removed illegally” in a Welsh village, which has led to “serious road safety concerns”.

Lee Waters, the minister behind the rollout, also said he would be stepping down and would delete his profile on social media platform X due to abuse in March.

The female gamers competing for thousands of pounds at first event of its kind in UK | Science & Tech News

The UK’s first professional women’s gaming tournament of its kind starts on Saturday.

Four teams of professional gamers will play the first-person shooter game Valorant, which is the most-watched esports game in women’s leagues.

It is the first time Europe’s best teams have battled it out in the UK, and organisers hope it will bring more women into gaming.

Meg ‘Megsoundslikeegg’ Gardner is one of the hosts of the Red Bull Instalock tournament
Meg ‘Megsoundslikeegg’ Gardner is one of the hosts of the Red Bull Instalock tournament

“The more people see you can enjoy gaming as somebody who’s not native to it, the more confident they’ll get and the more they’ll enjoy it,” said host and streamer Meg ‘Megsoundslikeegg’ Gardner.

The players are competing over two days at London‘s Red Bull Gaming Sphere for a prize pool of £15,000.

Michaela ‘mimi’ Lintrup, who is the one of world’s best Valorant players and has been professionally gaming since she was 18, said: “Back then it was not a big thing like it is today.”

The 26-year-old Dane added: “We fought for a case of Red Bull or something, it was not a prize pool with money. I just played because I had passion for it and I loved it.”

But that’s all changed.

Last year, fans watched more than 28 million hours of professional women’s esports, according to industry tracker Esports Charts. The competitions are usually streamed on places like Twitch, TikTok and YouTube.

Those figures don’t even include people watching in China, where esports are so big that more people watched them than traditional sports at the 2023 Asian Games.

In esports, where people play competitively in a variety of video games, there are leagues, prizes and hordes of fans just like in other sports.

Professional gamer Mathilde ‘Nelo’ Beltoise plays Valorant Karmine Corp
Professional gamer Mathilde ‘Nelo’ Beltoise plays for French team Karmine Corp

French player Mathilde ‘Nelo’ Beltoise, who is in a team called Karmine Corp, said the level of fandom in France is off the scale.

“Karmine Corp is so huge that everywhere you go, someone will recognise you. Every time I go into the street, I see someone with the jersey. It’s really huge,” she said.

The popularity of her team in France helped Beltoise’s parents, who are teachers, warm to the idea of her playing video games for a living.

“Sometimes one of their students has a Karmine Corp jersey on and they’re like, ‘Is that you?’ Now they just love it,” she explained.

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Being a professional gamer means glamorous-sounding international travel and online streaming, but it is also a regular nine to five job.

“We practice from Monday to Friday but when we get close to tournament time, we will add Sundays,” said Lintrup.

“We have four games a day which usually last for 50 minutes. Then we can talk a little bit about the mistakes we made [for 10 minutes before the next one]. Then we have about one and a half hours of theory time.”

Michaela ‘Mimi’ Lindtrup is one of the world's best Valorant players
Michaela ‘mimi’ Lindtrup is one of the world’s best Valorant players

Lintrup is the in-game leader of G2 Gozen and her role is fairly similar to that of a football captain.

She said: “After practice, I will usually stream or review which means I will go back and watch our games and point out the mistakes. I have to put in a bit of extra work. I love it like that.”

British competitor Sarah ‘sarah’ Ahmed is 18 years old and from Derby. She has been playing professionally for six months and became interested in gaming because of her brother.

She said: “He had a laptop and I didn’t so when I was 16, I got my first PC, and that’s when I started playing games, just like my brother.”

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Now, she is travelling the world, having recently competed in Turkey in the first-ever mixed-gender tournament. She described the moment she discovered the women’s gaming scene on Valorant.

“When I was younger, none of my friends played video games so whenever I played, it was just by myself, it was hard making girl friends.

“So when I saw there was a big community with a lot of girls just playing, I wanted to be a part of it.”

Sarah 'sarah' Ahmed from Derby has been playing Valorant professionally for six months
Sarah ‘sarah’ Ahmed from Derby has been playing professionally for six months

Valorant was released during one of the COVID lockdowns, when there was a surge in the number of people playing video games. Host Meg Gardner thinks it is more popular with women because of its storytelling.

She said: “Valorant is very good at being inclusive so you’ll see a lot of female characters that aren’t just in a supportive role, but like people that are very strong in the game. People want to pick them to play with.”

The Red Bull Instalock tournament is being streamed live on Twitch from 12pm UK time on Saturday and Sunday.

Tories warned Mark Menzies misuse of funds claims ‘constituted fraud’ but whistleblower told there was no ‘duty’ to report it | Politics News

The Conservatives were warned ex-Tory MP Mark Menzies’s alleged misuse of party funds may have constituted fraud but the whistleblower was told there was no duty to report it

Mr Menzies, the MP for Fylde in Lancashire, gave up the Tory whip in the wake of reports in The Times that he misused party funds. He disputes the allegations.

The allegations came about after Mr Menzies former campaign manager, Katie Fieldhouse, spoke to the newspaper.

Mark Menzies pictured in Peru  in 2020
Pic: AP
Mark Menzies pictured in Peru in 2020. Pic: AP

In a new interview with The Times this evening, Ms Fieldhouse, 78, claims she was told the Conservative Party was aware the allegations were potentially criminal.

She says the Conservative Party’s chief of staff “told me that when they first took over the investigation [from the Whips’ Office] they had consulted solicitors”.

She added: “He told me on the phone, ‘the solicitor said it is fraud but you are not duty-bound to report it because it’s not Conservative Party money’.”

The whistleblower said she was told the decision not to inform the police was made because it was donors’ money and not the party’s.

A Conservative spokesperson said: “The party is conducting an investigation into the claims made and has been doing so for several months.

“We will of course share any information with the police if they believe it would be helpful to any investigation they decide to undertake.

“Suggestions the party has not been seriously examining this matter are demonstrably false.”

Lancashire Police said today it was “reviewing” information about Mr Menzies after Labour asked for an investigation to take place.

In a statement, the force said: “We can confirm that we have now received a letter detailing concerns around this matter and we are in the process of reviewing the available information in more detail.”

Read more: All the Tory MPs suspended since Sunak became PM

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Ruth Davidson on Mark Menzies allegations

The party’s chief whip, Simon Hart, is said to have been made aware of the claims in January, when the former campaign manager reported what had happened.

Sky News understands there has been an investigation ongoing by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) since the allegations were first raised, but further information came to light this week and Mr Hart acted immediately.

Speaking tonight, Labour’s chair Anneliese Dodds said: “The Conservative chairman and chief whip must urgently come out of hiding and explain what they knew and what advice they received.

“If, as reported, they or Conservative officials​ were warned about potentially fraudulent activity and chose not to go to the police, this would be indefensible.”

Mr Menzies, who has served as an MP since May 2010, is reported to have phoned his 78-year-old former campaign manager at 3.15am last December, saying he was locked in a flat by “bad people” and needed £5,000 as a matter of “life and death”.

The sum, which rose to £6,500, was eventually paid by his office manager from her personal bank account and subsequently reimbursed from funds raised from donors in an account named Fylde Westminster Group, the newspaper says.

Speaking to Sky News, Ms Fieldhouse said: “I am feeling dreadful because I am a devout Tory and as I have said to everybody else, I reported his actions to the chief whip… it is now the middle of April.

“Come to your own conclusions [about] what is happening.”

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Asked if she was disappointed with the way the complaint was being handled, she said: “Yes.”

Mr Menzies said on Thursday: “I strongly dispute the allegations put to me. I have fully complied with all the rules for declarations. As there is an investigation ongoing I will not be commenting further.”